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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-02-015
Synopsis: On Saturday, May 27, 2000, about 11:48 a.m., 33 of the 113 cars making up eastbound UP train QFPLI-26 derailed near Eunice, Louisiana. Of the derailed cars, 15 contained hazardous materials and 2 contained hazardous materials residue. The derailment resulted in a release of hazardous materials with explosions and fire. About 3,500 people were evacuated from the surrounding area, which included some of the business area of Eunice. No one was injured during the derailment of the train or the subsequent release of hazardous materials. Total damages exceeded $35 million.
Recommendation: The National Transportation Safety Board therefore makes the following safety recommendation to the Association of American Railroads: Revise the guidance in your Circular No. OT-55, Recommended Railroad Operating Practices for Transportation of Hazardous Materials, to recommend that all key routes be subjected to periodic track inspections that will identify cracks or breaks in joint bars.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Eunice, LA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA00MR005
Accident Reports: Derailment of Union Pacific Railroad Train QFPLI-26
Report #: RAR-02-03
Accident Date: 5/27/2000
Issue Date: 4/16/2002
Date Closed: 9/26/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Association of American Railroads (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 9/26/2002
Response: The Safety Board notes that in response to this recommendation, the Safety and Operations Management Committee agreed to revise Circular OT-55 to recommend that all key routes be subjected to periodic track inspections to identify cracks or breaks in joint bars. The new circular was released as Circular OT-55-E, effective July 30, 2002; we appreciate receiving a copy of the final document. In consideration of the revision to Circular OT-55 to emphasize inspections for breaks or cracks in joint bars, Safety Recommendation R-02-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: Association of American Railroads
Date: 7/30/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 07/31/2002 11:22:31 AM MC# 2020727 The Safety and Operations Management Committee (railroad chief operating officers) stated that even though the railroad industry have in place very thorough and regimented track inspection programs, they agreed to amend Circular OT-55 and it has been released as OT-55-E, effective July 30, 2002, attached. "Main Track on "Key Routes" is inspected by rail defect detection and track geometry inspection cars or any equivalent level of inspection no less than two times each year; sidings are similarly inspected no less than one time each year; and main track and sidings are periodically inspected for cracks or breaks in joint bars" (new language underscored). It is our desire that NTSB recognizes the commitment to safety the railroads have and continue to make and therefore place Safety Recommendation R-02-15 as Closed - Acceptable Action.